Ladies, if you’re captured by the style of Rachel Hollis and “Girl, Wash Your Face”, please know that what you’re NOT going to get are worth consideration. But first…
What you’ll get: Enthusiastic, entertaining, honest literature from a gal who is probably a lot of fun to hang out with. She addresses some pretty difficult issues that many in our culture would be embarrassed to address, and she does so in a winsome way. Rachel herself read the book, and her style is excellent. But that’s about as far as I’d go for the benefits of this book.
What you won’t get: Good theology.
The issues: From the very first pages, Hollis makes it clear that she believes all of life is in OUR control, YOUR control. This book is for YOU, all about YOU, and it’s up to YOU whether you succeed or fail. YOU need to be your own hero. Hollis said, “God, mama, and your partner can’t change you without your help.” But this is not true. While mama and your partner can’t change you, God certainly can. He doesn’t need us to waive our green flag of permission to do as He wills. But sadly, Hollis’s view of God is an exceptionally low one. A book that focuses readers on all-things-ME – what I need to do or stop doing or start doing again or start thinking or stop thinking, etc. is highly problematic and selfish.
For being a “Christian” title (published by Thomas Nelson), the gospel of Jesus Christ was completely absent. Sure, she occasionally used words like “God” and “church” and “Christian” and “faith”, but there was little to no substance behind their use. She quoted a couple passages from the Bible, but used them out of context. The ones I remembered were, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”, and “He who began a good work in you will complete it.” The misapplications were the usual ones, passages used to suggest God will help you attain YOUR dreams…YOU just need to keep reciting the right words (or mantras, as she liked to call it) to yourself. To call this a “Christian” book is a misnomer.
Here’s the big issue: Hollis failed to point readers to the true Jesus, plain and simple. Instead, she went so far as to suggest that there is no one right religion or religious view. This, then, takes the gospel of Jesus Christ off the table, which, therefore, means there’s no directing the readers to repent from sin, no calling readers to trust in Jesus, and there’s no urgency to awaken readers to be right with God through Jesus Christ. Sure, she talked about “faith” and such, but never really explained what that means. Regrettably, this could be interpreted by any person to be faith in literally anything.
As an aside, here’s a hint for future reading and listening ventures: When you read/hear key words and phrases like "be a better version of yourself" or "my truth", etc., (which were used repeatedly) be on guard. We aren’t told anywhere in Scripture to attain to a better version of ourselves, but to humble ourselves, repent from sin, and follow Jesus. Sinners are powerless in and of ourselves to defeat sin and make us an inkling better. Instead, we need God the Father to call us, the Holy Spirit to quicken our dead selves, and Jesus to be our substitute. Additionally, statements such as “This is my truth” is one rooted in relativism, suggesting that what’s true for you may or may not be true for me, and vice versa. This takes the proclamation of the true gospel of Jesus Christ off the table because, in Hollis’s opinion, Jesus is just one avenue among many as possibilities to better ourselves…if that’s possible.
To conclude, I want to express how I’m honestly heartbroken for Rachel. It is clear throughout her book (as well as in the interview at the end of the audio version), that her ultimate goal – her driving passion in life – is to be a “mogul”, to be on the cover of Forbes as a top female entrepreneur. Sadly, she never said she desires to live a holy life in conformance to Christ, never mentions joyfully being made be right with God through Jesus Christ, never mentioned repenting from sin, etc. Instead, her pursuits appear merely materialistic, endeavors for fame and fortune that will fade with time. Instead, what we all need is Jesus Christ. We need his perfect mediation because our sins so deserve God’s punishment. We need the hope that only the gospel of Jesus Christ gives in being right with the Father.
While my while my heart breaks for Rachel, my ire falls on “Christian” publishers like Thomas Nelson for bowing – once again – to the almighty dollar for printing what sells, rather than printing the true gospel of Jesus Christ.